Course Program of Study
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is Course Program of Study (CPoS)?
Course Program of Study (CPoS) is a federal requirement that allows only courses that count toward a student's program of study (your declared major/minor) be considered when determining federal financial aid eligibility.
- When did CPoS become a requirement?
While CPoS is not a new requirement, software enhancements will allow Tennessee Tech to begin actively monitoring at the start of the 2019 fall term. This is a requirement for any higher ed institution administering federal aid.
- What type of financial aid does CPoS impact?
CPoS only applies to federal financial aid (e.g., Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, Federal Direct Loans and Federal PLUS Loans). It does NOT impact eligibility for state or institutional financial aid (e.g., Hope Scholarships, TSAC Scholarships/Grants, Tennessee Tech Scholarships/Grants, etc.).
Also refer to the FAQ: Why do the CPoS guidelines say that State and Institutional Aid are not affected, but then says it could be reduced?
- Why do the CPoS guidelines say that State and Institutional Aid are not affected,
but then says it could be reduced?
Why do the CPoS guidelines say that State and Institutional Aid are not affected, but then says it could be reduced?
The rules and regulations for state and institutional aid are not affected by CPoS. This means that CPoS guidelines do not change a student’s eligibility for receiving state and institutional aid. However, state and institutional aid have ALWAYS been held to a student’s total cost of attendance (budget) assigned each academic year. This means that on a very rare occasion, a student who has a total financial aid package that is up to their budget COULD be impacted if a student takes a course that is not included in their program of study (declared major/minor) and the cost of attendance has to be adjusted.
Example: An in-state undergraduate student who takes 12 hours fall/spring could have a budget of $25,900 for the academic year. If 3 of the 12 hours did not count in their program each term, this could reduce their total budget for the year to $21,638 due to CPoS guidelines for federal aid. The only time state or institutional aid might be affected would be if it was necessary to reduce those funds to stay within the new cost of attendance.
- What are federal, state, and institutional Financial Aid?
First, the term “financial aid” refers to any funding designed to assist with your educational expenses. Most financial aid flows through the school and is applied directly to your student account.
FEDERAL Financial Aid is generally determined based on the information included on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and comes from the U.S. Department of Education. Examples include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, Federal Loans, and Federal PLUS Loans to name a few. CPoS DOES impact these awards.
STATE Financial Aid may also use information included on the FAFSA to determine eligibility, but sometimes require an additional application. The primary difference is the source of funding is from the state government.
Examples include the HOPE Scholarship, Tennessee Student Assistance Award, and other TSAC Scholarships/Grants. CPoS DOES NOT impact any of these awards (refer to FAQ: Why do the CPoS guidelines say that State and Institutional Aid are not affected, but then says it could be reduced?).
INSTITUTIONAL Financial Aid may also use information included on the FAFSA to determine eligibility, but primarily looks at other factors such as high school GPA, standardized test scores, and performance. Examples
include Tennessee Tech Academic Scholarships, Athletic Scholarships, Departmental Scholarships, etc. CPoS DOES NOT impact any of these awards (refer to FAQ: Why do the CPoS guidelines say that State and Institutional Aid are not affected, but then says it could be reduced?).
- How and when will I know if I am impacted by CPoS?
Students enrolled in courses impacted by CPoS will be notified via their Tennessee Tech student email. Students will only be notified if CPoS impacts their federal financial aid eligibility. Please note, some portion of your federal aid may be prorated/reduced based on less than full time status.
- Why should I be aware of CPoS?
Courses that are not eligible cannot be counted toward your full-time status. In other words, if you are pursuing an undergraduate degree, the full-time cost of attendance (COA) requirement says you must be enrolled in at least 12 eligible hours. For example, if 9 of your 12 hours are in your Course Program of Study, but 3 of your hours do not count toward your major or minor, your COA will reflect that you are not a full-time student (only 75 percent), which could reduce your state andTennessee Tech scholarships. Remember: We cannot award aid in excess of your specific cost of attendance.
- What should I do – one or more of my courses doesn’t count...
What should I do – one or more of my courses doesn’t count in my program?
Do NOT begin modifying your schedule without consultation with an academic advisor!
An advisor will be able to review your account to determine whether the system is accurately assessing your enrollment. If not and your enrollment has been approved to count as part of your declared major/minor, a course substitution request can be submitted by a designated advisor in your college/school to have the course(s) count toward your federal financial aid eligibility. The email notification you receive will inform you to contact your advisor immediately.
Course Program of Study (CPoS) works in conjunction with the student’s Degree Works audit. Therefore, it is important for advisors and students to refer to Degree Works. Requirements are based on the catalog year in effect when the student officially entered their program of study (when the major was officially declared at the time of admission to the University or a change of major was filed with the Registrar’s Office).
- An academic advisor has determined one or more of my...
An academic advisor has determined one or more of my courses are not required for my program of study (declared major/minor). What can I do?
If an academic advisor determines a course is not satisfying a requirement for your program of study (declared major/minor), it will not count toward your federal financial aid eligibility. You should consult with an academic
advisor to consider an appropriate course of action (adding a required course, dropping the ineligible course, or remaining enrolled in the ineligible course). It is important to remember most forms of financial aid, including federal financial aid, are limited in nature. Using financial aid to fund coursework required for your program of study is a wise way to use this limited resource.
If you are an undergraduate student, taking more than 12 hours per semester is usually the best way to graduate on time. However, if those excess hours are outside your program of study and are funded by federal loans, you may reach the maximum loan
limit before graduation. Once maximum loan limits are reached, the only way to regain eligibility is to repay the aid. Avoiding, or at least, limiting coursework which is outside of your program of study will maximize your
financial aid funding.
- Can I appeal a determination that a course does not apply...
Can I appeal a determination that a course does not apply toward my program of study?
No. There is no appeal process for courses that do not satisfy a requirement of your program of study. However, if a course has been approved as a substitution, Degree Works will be updated to officially reflect this, once the substitution form is submitted to Academic Services. This will allow the course to count toward your federal financial aid eligibility. Additionally, certain courses/scenarios may not be accurately assessed by the system.
These situations will need to be reviewed on a case by case basis to make a final determination if the course is eligible in your program. Do NOT begin modifying your schedule without consultation with an academic
- How can the federal REPEAT Rule affect CPoS?
A course may be in the student's program of study, but not count toward aid eligibility IF it exceeds the number of repeat attempts allowed for federal aid. This is known as the Repeat Rule. If a student receives an 'F' grade in a course, they are permitted to retake the course as many times as they need until they make a 'D' or higher. Once they have made a 'D' or higher, they are only permitted to retake the course one additional time after that. This is regardless of what they make the next time or the grade required for progression in the major/minor (CPoS).
While a ‘D’ may not be successfully passing to advance a student’s academic program, the federal government’s REPEAT rule considers a ‘D’ as having a passing grade.
Eligibility and enrollment status for retaking coursework 34 CFR 668.2(b)
The regulatory definition for full-time enrollment status (for undergraduates) allows a student to retake, one time, any previously passed course. For this purpose, passed means any grade higher than an “F,” regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade to have been considered to have passed the course. This retaken class may be counted towards a student’s enrollment status and the student may be awarded Title IV aid for the enrollment status based on inclusion of the class.
Scenario 1: A student takes and repeats the same course as follows:
1) The first time they take the course, they receive a final grade of D;
2) They repeat the course and officially withdraws with a W in their academic record, (no final grade);
3) They repeat the course again and receive a final grade of F; and then
4) They repeat the course again and receive a final grade of C.
Answer: A course from which a student withdraws does not count as a repetition of a previously-passed course for determining a student's enrollment status. Based on the example provided, the student could be paid for the first three course attempts, but not the fourth. The student withdrew from the second attempt, so it does not count as completing or retaking the course. Since the student passed the first course attempt, the third attempt counts as the student's paid course retake, so the student is not eligible for Title IV funds to pay the fourth attempt (even if a C is required for progression of the student’s program of study).
Scenario 2: A student takes and repeats the same course as follows:
1) The first time they take the course, they receive a final grade of F;
2) They repeat the course and officially withdraw with a W in the academic record, (no final grade);
3) They repeat the course again and receive a final grade of D; and then
4) They repeat the course again and receive a final grade of C.
Answer: A course from which a student withdraws does not count as a repetition of a previously-passed course for determining a student's enrollment status. Based on the example provided, the student could be paid for all 4 attempts because an F is not a passing grade. The student withdrew from the second attempt, so it does not count as completing or retaking the course. Since the student passed the third course attempt, the fourth attempt counts as the student's paid course retake, so the student is eligible for Title IV funds to pay the fourth attempt.
- An advisor has submitted a course substitution form. When...
An advisor has submitted a course substitution form. When will my financial aid be updated to reflect this request?
The substitution process requires action from multiple departments. Once received by Academic Services, please allow 3-5 business days for your financial aid to reflect the substitution.
- I am enrolled in courses that aren't part of my program of...
I am enrolled in courses that aren't part of my program of study (for example: declared Nursing major but enrolled in Health Administration courses). Will CPoS impact me?
Yes. If your enrollment isn't satisfying a requirement for your declared major/minor, the system will flag the courses as ineligible and they will not count toward your federal financial aid eligibility. NOTE: Some courses
may be required by both majors/minors and will not be flagged. You should still update your officially declared major/minor through your advisor as soon as possible. It may not be an issue this semester, but it will
eventually pose a problem.
- When is the last day to make major/minor changes or modify...
When is the last day to make major/minor changes or modify my enrollment to potentially impact CPoS?
The federal financial aid census (a snapshot of your account) happens on the last day to add courses for the term, normally the 14th day of classes after the start of a term. Your federal financial aid eligibility will be
based off this snapshot. Do not wait until the last minute to submit updates as major/minor program changes are not immediate. It is the student's responsibility to ensure their major/minor accurately reflects their current enrollment and any updates are submitted in sufficient time to allow for processing.
- Do electives count toward CPoS?
Possibly. Electives must satisfy a requirement of your declared major/minor. Each degree program has variable numbers of electives. Some programs have very few, if any, electives, while others have a significant number of electives available. If you have been notified an elective is not counting toward your federal financial aid eligibility, contact your advisor. If an advisor determines that the elective is satisfying a requirement and will
count toward your declared major/minor, they will submit a substitution request.
- How will this affect study abroad?
Study abroad courses may count for federal financial aid if they apply towards outstanding coursework in your officially declared program of study.
- How will courses needed for double majors be treated?
Undergraduate double majors must be officially declared and reflected in Degree Works by the census date (14th calendar day of a full term for fall or spring semester) to be included as eligible coursework for federal financial aid.
- How will courses needed for completion of minors be treated?
Your undergraduate minor must be officially declared and reflected in Degree Works by the census date (14th calendar day of a full term for fall or spring semester) to be included as eligible coursework for federal financial aid.
- I’m enrolled in 12 undergraduate hours, but 4 of those...
I’m enrolled in 12 undergraduate hours, but 4 of those hours don’t count towards my officially declared program of study. How does that affect my financial aid?
Federal financial aid will be disbursed based on the 8 credit hours that apply towards your officially declared program of study. The Federal Pell Grant award will be reduced from a full-time enrollment award to a halftime enrollment award. You may be eligible to receive federal loans because you are enrolled at least halftime status in eligible coursework. As applicable, your state and institutional aid will be based on full-time
enrollment. However, because your cost of attendance (COA) will also be reduced to half-time, your total aid may be reduced since it cannot exceed your COA.
- I want federal student loans, but only 4 out of my 9 enrolled...
I want federal student loans, but only 4 out of my 9 enrolled hours apply towards outstanding requirements in my officially declared program of study. Can I still get loans?
No. To receive a federal student loan, you must be enrolled at least half-time in credit hours that apply toward your officially declared program of study. Because only 4 credits apply to your program of study, you are not
enrolled at least half-time to be eligible.
- For the upcoming semester, I plan to enroll in 17 hours...
For the upcoming semester, I plan to enroll in 17 hours, which includes a 3 hour class that doesn’t apply toward outstanding requirements in my officially declared program of study. Will financial aid pay for the ineligible 3 hour class?
Financial aid will disburse based on full-time enrollment status (this is 12 hours for undergraduate students). If at least 12 of your credits apply towards outstanding requirements in your officially declared program of study, then you are still considered a full-time
student for federal financial aid purposes. If eligible you may receive a full-time Federal Pell Grant and Federal Student Loans if you have applied for them. Financial aid will pay for any academic related charges, including
the charge for the additional class. However, the financial aid you receive may not be enough to cover all tuition costs, leaving you responsible for paying the remaining balance.
- I have been notified one or more of my courses are not coun...
I have been notified one or more of my courses are not counting toward my federal financial aid eligibility due to CPoS. I consulted with an advisor and we made updates to my enrollment and/or program of study (declared major/minor). When will I know if the changes “fixed” the problem?
The CPoS automated review process happens nightly. It only reviews updates that are reflected on your account. If the updates have been fully processed and your course is determined to be eligible, the CPoS alert/
flag will be cleared within 24 hours of the overnight CPoS process. Your financial aid will automatically update to reflect your new eligibility within 24 hours of the overnight CPoS process. NOTE: Requests for major/minor
changes are not immediate and require manual updates in the system.
If you have questions about a course and whether or not it is in your Program of Study - please contact your advisor! Financial Aid can't answer questions about your Program and what classes count toward your degree.
If you have questions about how taking a course NOT in your program may effect your financial aid - please email: firstname.lastname@example.org